New CFPB Compliance Bulletin Impacts Service Providers: The Consumer Finance Protection Bureau (“CFPB”) recently issued Compliance Bulletin 2015-01, which reminds persons subject to the regulatory authority of the agency, including lenders, mortgage servicers and their service providers, that they may not disclose confidential information to third parties, with limited exceptions.  The bulletin defines “confidential information to mean “confidential consumer complaint information, confidential investigative information, and confidential supervisory information ["CSI"], as well as any other CFPB information that may be exempt from disclosure under the Freedom of Information Act…”  The bulletin also explains that private confidentiality and non-disclosure agreements, to which service providers are often party to, cannot alter legal restrictions on the disclosure of CSI nor impact the CFPB’s authority to obtain information from service providers and others in the exercise of the agency’s supervisory authority.


Legislation Affects Title Refinance Rates: Senate bill no. 236 was introduced to permit title insurance policies to be sold at a lower premium rate when such insurance is purchased by a mortgagor of real property for the refinancing of the mortgage on such real property.  The bill has been referred to the Joint Committee on Insurance and Real Estate.


Legislation Requires Fraudulent Notice Filing: House bill no. 103 specifies that if a title insurer or title insurance agent who has searched a title to makes a determination based upon the search and other available information that a document constitutes a materially false or fraudulent document, the title insurer or agent must record a notice of false or fraudulent document.  The notice must be in writing and sworn under oath by an authorized representative of the title insurer or agent; identify the book and page of the document alleged to be materially false or fraudulent; state sufficient facts to support the title insurer or agent’s determination that the document is materially false or fraudulent; and be accompanied by the proper recording fee.  The legislation has been referred to the Property, Casualty, and Life Insurance Committee.

Legislation Impacts Provision of Escrow and Closing Services: Senate bill no. 159 provides that a title insurer or title insurance agent may perform escrow or closing services in residential real estate transactions by giving notice to affected persons that their interests are not protected by the insurer or agent in situations where the title insurance policy is not being issued by the insurer or agent performing the escrow or closing services.  In situations where title insurers or title insurance agents are exclusively performing escrow, settlement, or closing services, the bill makes it unlawful for such entities to do so unless they clearly disclose to the sellers, buyers, and lenders involved in such escrows, settlements, or closings that no title insurer is providing any protection for closing or settlement funds.  The legislation has been referred to the Small Business, Insurance and Industry Committee.


Legislation Reduces Operating Expense Assessment: Senate bill no. 2359 provides that a New York domestic title insurer, for purposes of determining such insurer’s obligation for payment of its annual assessment for the operations of the New York Department of Financial Services, shall be assessed on direct premiums written less amounts paid to or retained by title insurance agents in New York State during the calendar year immediately preceding the fiscal year for which the assessment is made.  The legislation has been referred to the Senate Committee on Insurance.